Come meet and listen to the Advocates from Let’s Talk About It share the impact of making testimonial education materials to serve their peers. We would love to hear your comments!!
We all feel at times that we are defeated by our past mistakes or past experiences, but we have to believe that we are overcomers! And, no matter what happens and comes our way we will defeat it.
Remind myself that the negative thought that I’m thinking is only negative; it has no power other than what I give it. When I give it power, it controls my destiny.
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
I surround myself with positive people, who are headed in the same direction as me, or who are already there. Don’t be afraid to jump into something new, live outside your comfort zone. Enjoy life!
I battle with low self-esteem because of things I have been through in my life, or things that have been spoken or done to me.
I never knew how to break free from it, I always felt less than anybody around me because of the way I looked or how I spoke and all I wanted was to feel love. I was finding love in the wrong places or things. I was looking for a way out, wanting to know how to escape everything within me and learning how to love me.
These are ways that help me to be free:
I never want to be powerless and helpless another day in my life. I lost many years of my life by being powerless and helpless. I was giving someone else command over me, and allowing them to have control of my responsibilities and relinquishing my God given power and will.
I replace a negative with a positive by:
Changing my mind to what can go right instead of wrong. I learned the mind can only think one thought at a time.
Most of all fall in love with me!
I can never forget how I always felt that everything was my fault when something went wrong, or I could never do anything right and needed the approval of other people.
Now that am older, I understand that being a victim of abuse had me in a box that I was living in and didn’t know how to escape from it. I didn’t know how to be free from it. I was walking around in a box. I wanted to jump out like “Jack in a box” waiting on someone to come wind me up and hoping I’m free from all the pain within me. That never happened. My pop-outs were when I became extremely intoxicated and ended up in the bed with someone feeling free for just that moment.
The next morning had me feeling like I was abused all over again. I asked myself what are you doing here, and should I add on top of that feeling less than, because I was a high school dropout, and hopeless and wanting to try something different than alcohol to medicate my pain. Then I tried ecstasy, but should I say it tried me. Let’s just say, I realized it was not for me. I was just going to stick with my drinks. I thank God for that. Years later I was still playing the victim roll, and not knowing how to be free.
Then I met my new frenemy, and her name is HIV, but should I say that she was the best thing that happened to me. She got me in a place where I had to accept my past and face my reality and the things that happened to me. Now I am stuck in a place that I have to use the F word all the time and that’s FORGIVE, when I really want to say F you!
I was tired of running and wanted to be free! I didn’t want to be like Jack any longer, having to wait on someone or something to come wind me up and free me. I wanted to be free, and stay free, and the only way that I was going to do that was to forgive myself and everybody who hurt me. So I choose to forgive.
I was watching The View when I heard Cookie Johnson say when her husband ”Magic Johnson” confessed that he was HIV she had to make a choice. Her choice was to leave and let him die or stay and help him live!
She said how hard it was for her when he had to close himself in a room and call all the women he had, had sex with over the past 10 years. I heard her say this and I thought “This is my story in reverse.”
I’m the infected spouse and my husband decided to stay and help me live. He stood by while I had to talk to the health department and disclose my sexual contacts. He wasn’t literally in the room but he knew I was online and on the phone giving names and contacting those I may have exposed or who may have exposed me to HIV. He chose to stay and in the early days or months he probably thought I wasn’t going to be in his life and our children for much longer. He chose to stay and help me fight this disease. He was tested within hours of my diagnosis and tested negative. I thank God for that. He chose to care for me when I couldn’t get out of bed. He drove me to every appointment to sign up for care, for medicines, and everything connected to infectious disease. He keeps me on schedule and checks for any new side effects or symptoms. He drives me to the hospital when I have to go and stays until I force him to go home and rest. I wouldn’t say he’s a Saint but he’s pretty darn close to it.
We still argue as many couples do that have spent so many years together. They are not big fights more of disagreements because we don’t agree on a lot some days. One thing I guess we do agree on and that is that it’s better staying together than being apart. And alone.
I love this man whom I decided to marry so many years ago and will try to make up for the terrible choices I made in a bad time in my life. If he asks something of me I can not refuse and part of that request is keeping my status private from most of our life. Secrets are hard for me and lies are a close second.
Now in our later years we care for one another. I guess the part of the marriage ceremony fits here. “In sickness and in health” We are the elderly couple sitting together on the park bench or walking on the beach. We may not be always holding hands but we will be very close together.
No one knows the loneliness of having HIV unless you have HIV. The feeling of being alone all of the time. Every waking moment is controlled by HIV. Many are able to hold a job, do everyday things like housework, and raise their children. Some are not as healthy or active. However it’s like walking around with a time bomb inside us. One misstep and the bomb could explode. We shy away from normal sick people. A common cold is not a
common cold to us. We mark our calendar for doctor appointments and the dreaded flu season. We look forward to that yearly flu shot. Why? Because it’s just a little extra protection from more complications. No we don’t die from HIV anymore or rarely. But many of us die from complications such as a cold that developed onto pneumonia. Or PHV that develops into some cancer. I know other people have the same health issues but HIV and it’s not good.
Depression is a big part of HIV. So many have depression and may not even know it. We have to fight depression just like we fight a cold or any illness. Depression is like a cancer. And it spreads or worsens within our body and brain. The good part is we can fight back. How you may be asking? There are many ways that isn’t expensive and can be done at home in privacy. Look around you and see the beauty in things. You might even make a list of pros and cons or better yet good and bad. Bad is we’re sick, good is we are able to take medicine and feel better. We can watch tv so that can be good because we have our eyesight. Listen to the birds sing or the butterflies flit about outside our window. Look at the beautiful sunshine and how it makes things sparkle especially after a rain. Look at the flowers or the green grass growing. Even weeds have some beauty as they are growing things.
If you can take a walk outside and enjoy all these things of nature do it. If you can’t you can still enjoy them from your windows.
Read a book or even a magazine. POZ has many really good stories and you can get them free. If you have a computer there is a world of free entertainment from books to chats with live people. If you don’t like chats just read others conversations. Lol. I find a wealth of information just observing. Facebook is a good social media and we have many groups of people like “us”. (HIV Groups) But there are recipes for the cooking enthusiast and baking. Sewing is a hobby of mine that I learned from my Mammaw and in Home Ec in school. (Remember those classes?) I play games online (my husband refers to them as playing dots. Says a man who listens to Christmas carols year round. Lol. Also crafting from scraps and trinkets and even recyclables. I love creating gifts for grand children, family and friends. Reading is another favorite though I save mine for in the car in brighter light and in waiting rooms of doctor offices. Knitting or crocheting is a good and relaxing pastime. The internet has free patterns, so does Facebook.
I recently gave my sister a coloring book and a box of crayons and she’s 61 years young. She was excited. Lol. She asked about staying in the lines and I told her just scribble if you want to. It’s about colors not about staying in the lines. She’s in a rehab and recently lost her husband of over 30 years.
And last but not least is meditating or what I call quiet thinking. You can be staring at the tv, a book, or close your eyes and just go inside your head and think! Give thanks to anyone that enters your mind. Prayers to God or whatever belief you may have. Keeping your mind active is as important as any other exercise and it can be done anywhere. I am giving thanks now that I am healthy and able to write this Blog. ;)What kind of ideas do you use for depression or changing your mood?
What kind of ideas do you use for depression or changing your mood?
There are many things that we can do to make our future better and one of them is giving our past away. Our past has so many bad things that weigh our lives down and it could make us sick. So, we begin little by little, on trying to make our future stronger by giving away the past and all of the things that come with it. The things that are in our past may consist of many things, such as, work, school, sports that we may play, children, and relationships. I know what you are saying, “Why give away all the things that make us happy?”
We don’t give away the memories, we give away the bad habits, and the bad thoughts that may have come to our mind throughout the day, not to mention that we woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe, the toast is a little over cooked. These are just a few things that come to mind. This stuff needs to be let go or given away through your Power Greater than Ourselves, our journal, parents or maybe friends.
As we talk about the little things, some which are listed, these things start to leave our minds, body and our souls and makes us smile, and enjoy our days. This is a necessity because it is essential that we lighten our load by letting go of the past.
To have a strong future, I have given you a few things that will help to strengthen yourself, your future and the thoughts that may come to your mind. If we give away the dirt, we can’t help but feel cleaner.
What is keeping life so bogged down for you?
Once letting go, you must leave it there.
What is your reason?
Beauty- The quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.(loveliness) 2. the BEAUTIFUL person or thing such as a beautiful woman. 3. a particularly graceful, ornamental, of excellent quality. 4. a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or <that mistake was a beauty> — Merriam Webster Dictionary
As you can see there many definitions of the word “Beauty” just as our own definitions are different.
This is the time to share the beauty of things in life. A good example of beauty is to always try to find the positive out of the negative. True beauty is not always about the outside and the way we look, that is always a plus, but it doesn’t define us.
There are many ideas of beauty in us spiritually, emotionally, physically, we just have to search within ourselves what indeed we think is beauty. We have to also be as consistent as we can be when showing our beauty. Believe and be honest to yourself. Even when we are going through things and we think that we are all alone, but we aren’t. There is a beautiful person or a group of beautiful people that don’t mind showing you how to reconnect with your beauty.
Remember that we are all beautiful. True beauty is having a good attitude and that is more beautiful than anything.
So, what does beauty mean to you?
A few years ago, I started a new journey on my own when I moved to a new city. I have been HIV positive for many years, and sometimes I found myself having too much on my mind at one time. It would become very chaotic and overwhelming, so one day I decided to go and sit in my yard to try to relax. I wanted to sit outside and get the sun on my face because I felt like I could draw energy from the sun.
I would breathe in slowly, thinking about nothing but drawing in energy. I keep breathing in until I felt like I bottled up all of the energy I could manage. Then, I would breathe out slowly. While breathing out, I let everything go. I let go of stress. I let go of the things that are outside of my control. I just let everything out while breathing out. I tend to let my arms out too while I’m breathing out because it helps me get rid of that extra energy. When I breathe and meditate, it is about me letting go of the things I cannot control.
My advice for anyone who would like to start meditating is that, first of all, you can meditate anywhere. I used to live by a beach, and I would walk on the beach in the mornings when it was quiet to do my breathing. You can also meditate in your bed before you go to sleep. I suggest sitting up in your bed, crisscross if you can. Then just slowly breathe in and out, focusing on letting go of the things that are outside of your control. The most important thing about meditating is finding a quiet place where you can focus on your breathing.
What I have learned from meditating is that worrying isn’t going to change anything in your life. With meditation, I’ve learned that it is important to let things go and not focus on the things that are outside of your control. It helps to make life’s hardships a little easier to deal with. We have to be okay with not always being in control.
Support groups are everywhere. There are support groups for drinking, sex, gambling, health issues, etc. Having a problem that requires a support group is hard enough but then you add the fear of attending that first meeting. You don’t really know anybody, but you do know that they all have the same problem going on that you do and that’s a comfort. A million thoughts are running through your head when attending the first meeting. Will I have to speak? Am I being judged? How will this help me?
Most support groups are nonjudgemental and a safe zone where you can share your thoughts and feelings with people who understand what you’re going through. Being the newest member of anything is always hard, but being part of something that is helping you better, or get through your life is the best.
I was a new member of a support group about three or four years ago and I was terrified. I didn’t know anybody and was hesitant about people finding out about my status. The ladies of that first group were wonderful, though, and made me feel very welcome. Now it’s years later and this group has become such an integral and important part of my life. I love every single person so much and I can’t imagine how I would get through life without their support.
Support groups are there to help us and most of the time they end up being our biggest supporter. I encourage everybody to try one.